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What Is Early Intervention

What is Early Intervention?

Arizona caregivers want the best for their children, but don’t always have the means to provide it. You may have heard that early intervention can help, but what is early intervention? Early intervention bridges this gap, bringing much-needed professional services to children with a variety of developmental delays. Read on to learn more about early intervention, eligibility, and how RISE can help.

Early Intervention Defined

Early intervention gives families the tools needed to support their kids’ health and wellbeing. Young children with developmental delays are eligible for early intervention. Children may also be eligible if they are believed to be at risk of suffering such delays in the future. Because the needs of each child vary, early intervention services will be tailored to meet the specific needs of each child. Depending on the situation, children may require speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, or special development instruction.

Who Is Eligible?

Early intervention is available for families with children between the ages of 0 and 36 months. To qualify, children must be developmentally delayed. Children may also qualify if they suffer from a condition that is deemed likely to cause developmental delays. The biggest hurdle for discerning eligibility, of course, is determining whether a child has developmental delays. A child is deemed developmentally delayed if he or she fails to reach 50 percent of identified developmental milestones in at least one of the following categories:
  • Physical
  • Communication
  • Cognition
  • Social-emotional
  • Adaptive
Even if children are not yet deemed developmentally delayed, they may still qualify if they have one of the following conditions:
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Chromosomal abnormalities
  • Spina bifida
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Significant visual or auditory impairments
  • Periventricular leukomalacia
  • Grade 3 or 4 intraventricular hemorrhage

Who Is Not Eligible?

If a child is not diagnosed with a developmental disability, they will not qualify for early intervention. Additionally, eligibility ends after the age of 3. Because the evaluation process can be extensive, it’s important to seek early intervention services as soon as possible.

The Early Intervention Evaluation Process

Extensive evaluations determine whether children qualify for early intervention. Typically, professional evaluators use a variety of tools and techniques to assess children. These may include standardized testing, observation, and medical documentation. Additionally, professional evaluators may ask parents for input. They may also ask if the child has an already established condition that ensures a child’s eligibility so it is a good idea to have the child’s medical records available.

Where to Find Early Intervention Services

The Arizona Early Intervention Program (AzEIP), which was Established by Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, provides a valuable system of support services for families with developmentally delayed children between 0 and 3 years old. Additionally, the state of Arizona employs a team-based approach, in which AzEIP contracts with a variety of private providers (often referred to as Team-Based Early Intervention Services) to provide individualized services for eligible families. As one of AzEIP’s partnered providers, RISE Early Intervention Services provides assistance for families within 40 local zip codes and three Maricopa County regions. Committed to Arizona families, RISE offers valuable support to those who need it most. Reach out today to learn more about early intervention services offered through RISE.